WSAZ Exclusive | Inside look at Pikeville Medical Center Children’s Hospital

Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 7:34 PM EST
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) - A new children’s hospital is opening in our region in Eastern Kentucky.

Pikeville Medical Center Children’s Hospital will begin seeing its first patients next week.

Donovan Blackburn, president and CEO of Pikeville Medical Center, believes providing care close to home will ease the burden for many families.

“As both a father and a grandfather living and growing up in this region, knowing many people have had to travel for too long for quality care,” Blackburn said. ”This is a really exciting time to open this facility because it’s been in the works for several years. "

The project was first announced in 2018 as part of a $52 million investment project.

Blackburn said most families spend at least two hours traveling to hospitals focusing on pediatric care in previous years. The two closest hospitals would have been in Lexington, Kentucky, or Huntington, West Virginia.

The facility entrance is located near the Starbucks inside on the second-floor atrium with easy access from the parking garage. The 10-bed patient system and the clinic will treat the patients from birth to 18 years old.

“We’re delivering a promise to the people of this community that we can bring the best care possible for their children in the most comprehensive center in the state and the country, right here in the mountains,” said Dr. Fritz Stine, a pediatric hospitalist at Pikeville Medical Center.

UK Children’s Hospital and PMC will share pediatricians through a partnership while the hospital works to expand its program. The pediatricians will travel to Pikeville on selected days of the month for the clinic.

“We’re going to offer services that people have had to drive for. We will set up a PMC scheduling center, and they will be able to do their labs and diagnostic testing here,” Blackburn said.

The interior of the hospital and patient exam rooms are decorated with a safari theme and bright colors.

Blackburn said with the recent opening of the pediatric clinic at the former Staples location, which includes urgent care, primary care, and a pediatric clinic’s office, that patient numbers are increasing substantially.

“Our volumes are up 30 percent because people from the region are able to stay at home. They’re not having to take their kids to places outside the region like Ashland, Huntington, Charleston, or Lexington,” Blackburn said.

He hopes the hospital will see a similar trend in the demand for care, which will help expand additional services.

“The program is intended to grow over the next few years. We have to crawl before you walk, and walk before you run. I ask that folks be patient with us and imagine where we will be in two or three years,” Blackburn said.

Gov. Andy Beshear, along with other leaders, will host a ribbon-cutting on Thursday.

For our previous coverage, click here.

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